Following the long trip from Calgary to Hawaii we decided to sleep in on the Saturday and take our time, no big adventures planned for today, we would just try to make it into Hilo and get some groceries.
We woke up mid-morning and took better part of an hour to square ourselves up, our hosts left us some fresh fruit from their garden so we enjoyed some tangelo oranges and some fresh papaya. Shareen was able to enjoy a cup of coffee as well.
Eventually we dragged our asses out the door and headed for Hilo with the intent of looking around and opportunistically grabbing some groceries.
On our way out we had our first look at our cozy little Ohana that Stefan had build for his wife Hallie (our hosts).
I made a point of picking a “civilized” departure time, meaning something during the day so we wouldn’t have to get up at 4:00 AM in the morning (wait for it, irony coming later). We get up at the regular time around 7:00 AM, have breakfast, shower, get dressed and start packing, all good.
Shareen panics at about 9:45 and start bugging me to call Uber to pick us up to head for the airport. I give in at about 10:00 and call Uber which shows up at 10:10, and at that time of the day we arrive at the airport at about 10:30, our plane doesn’t leave until 1:15.
On a Friday at mid-day we breeze through security and customs and now have about two hours to wait until we fly out. Ugh!!! But it’s not all horrible, the new terminal in YYC is actually nice, we take our time shopping in Duty Free and Shareen tries out the food fair, the rest of the time we sit in a comfortable lounge without getting swamped by people.
Just to the left of the picture above there’s a sign that tells us to relax (in that word) until about 12:30 at which point it tells us to head over to our plane as it’s boarding. We saunter over and literally walk onto the plane. That’s civilized travel!
I’ve never been there so Shareen insisted on that we go today and it was great! Aside from the interpretive centre there’s also a short walk where we saw a bunny (not a hare) and three Mule Deer.
Here’s the view form the top of the trail (after we visited the interpretive centre).
Heading home, London as seen from the airplane a few minutes after take off from Gatwick.
The River City Tour stops in Greenwich where we are allowed to get off and visit. A boat comes every half hour and you can get back on to go back to Westminster any time (it’s covered as part of your ticket). I wanted to see the Royal Observatory but there were TONS of other things to see such as the Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark just to name a few. There was a lot of extra security and facilities set up for the upcoming Paralympics.
Heading home to Canada we decided to stay one extra day in London to do some last minute sight seeing. We were staying at the Union Jack Club near Waterloo station. It was a short walk to the Themes and the South Bank (near the London eye(sore)) and we decided to take the City River tour to Greenwich. It was great.
Dartmoor in August in England. Proof that you can get pelted by freezing rain any time of year.
So for our last evening in Paris we went for Moules Frites with our friends. It’s a meal of Belgian origin but goddammit it’s yummy and that night we made it Parisian. Jeremy had a pizza of course.
In retrospect we had a great time in France and Paris; visited with our friends, saw lots of beautiful things, and the laisse faire prevalent in Paris is great and relaxing. But between the heat (every day was above 35C), the constant noise, and the crowds Paris left us somewhat drained.
We dragged our asses back to Shareen’s parents in the UK and everyone commented how it somehow felt like coming home.
So right next to the Jardin des Tuileries is the Louvre Museum, who knew? “You don’t like me and I don’t like you, but feet, take me there”. After the Versailles debacle we were all a bit nervous about committing to another French landmark but as we edged our way forward we noticed that at least later in the day when we got there the crowds appeared much smaller than Versaille. At 10 Euros per adult it was also a lot easier to swallow. In the end, totally worth it as the Louvres is much more accessible in terms of smaller crowds and better layout to allow people to navigate to whichever area they want to see. We HAD to see the Mona Lisa of course after which we saw some of the more mundane famous paintings.